As it is for a very busy professional, time off from work is a real luxury for me as a surgeon. Doctors in India never have the option of switching their phones off, or asking their offices not to disturb them. I love every aspect of my life as a doctor and surgeon, so I am not complaining, but who does not love having some time away with their family? I am no exception.
Last month, I went away for a quick year-end holiday to Bali with my wife and children. It was fabulous to leave the city and routine behind. I eagerly await and look forward to this annual opportunity , it helps me rejuvenate.
I had promised my 14-year-old daughter, Kiara, that I would learn scuba-diving with her and get a PADI certification. This was one of the most memorable things I did this year.
To give you some background, the most common and respected certification for divers is PADI, which stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors. For the Open Water Dive, which is the most basic level of certification, which is what Kiara and I can now boast of, you sign up for a four-day course with a minimum of four dives.
Learning diving can be quite a daunting and intimidating task to begin with. You start off by unlearning the most basic thing essential for life from birth – breathing from your nose. Underwater, you have to learn how to breathe from your mouth. The instructor makes you do various exercises underwater in a swimming pool after teaching you the nuances of the hardware required for diving, from the mask and snorkel, to the O2 cylinder and your jacket.
When you have your fins on, it is impossible to move around and you wonder how your instructor is so adept with them when you look so clumsy! It’s surprising how no toothpaste company has thought of marketing through the scuba guys as you consume more toothpaste cleaning your masks than you do brushing your teeth. It’s true!
Signs and symbols practiced in scuba are very different; for example, a simple wave of your hands to say you are enjoying the dive above water might be interpreted as an SOS by your partner underwater. A thumbs-up means you want to go back up, and not that you are doing well.
When you have completed your written tests and your practice dives in the pool you are ready for the real stuff , that shall make all this worthwhile . The excitement builds up, and so does the fear of the unknown. Soon, I will explain why you must discover the pleasures of life underwater, if you have not done it yet.
Underwater Temple Garden, Pemuteran Bay, Bali
Image via here